BOSCOBEL - The Boscobel School Board met for a very lengthy regular meeting on Monday, March 8.
One of the items that incited most of the long conversation was that of the softball field and the poor condition it has fallen into.
Penny and Corey Grassel made a presentation to the board about the field.
Penny shared with the board that the field was built around 1993-94, however since that time there have been no major improvements or upgrades done to it.
In 2019, a group gathered in an effort to look into work that could be done to bring the field up to snuff for players. The group gathered a list of concerns and then shared them with school administrators before contacting the park board with their concerns.
“They basically told us there is no money,” Penny said. “They suggested we do some fund-raising to help find the funds.”
The group contacted a professional to take a look at the field and see what needed to be done. From there they went to the city to ask for an account to keep funds in if fund-raising was possible. The group was able to raise $600 from area businesses for improvements. Penny shared that various grants had been shared with them, but due to different hurdles they were unable to complete them.
“Some we didn’t qualify for, some just came down to, we’re not grant writers,” Penny explained to the board.
The Grassels were able to organize a field clean up day pulling weeds and putting down dirt, but went on to explain that the field, at this point, is beyond such temporary repairs.
Grassel explained that she spoke with others in the area who have been putting extensive work into their ball fields and were recommended to go with Midwest Athletic Fields. It was shared with them by this company that they would be coming in April to work on a field in Fennimore and for $6,200 they would be able to piggyback on that visit and repair the west softball field in Boscobel as well.
“They would scrape down two to three inches, level and replace bases and mound, as well as laser grade it and make better drainage and upgrade some materials,” Corey explained to the board. “The biggest concern is we’re hosting games and we need to have a quality field that represents our program. It’s beyond small repairs. The field is full of dandelions and we get complaints from other teams.”
“We went over to the baseball field and there isn’t a single dandelion on the baseball field,” Penny told the board. “There are safety hazards after years of not maintaining it properly.”
Board member Roger Knoble suggested having a Go Fund Me page to raise money for repairs.
“I don’t think that’s a bad idea,” Penny said. “But really the bigger problem is we have forgotten about our girls program. We can look over at the boys program and it looks totally different. We owe it to our girls’ program, we have a legal obligation to provide them with an equal playing field. Even looking at the concession stand. We have mice issues, there is mold, so many issues.”
It was noted that aside from Cross Country, girls softball is also the only sport that isn’t played on school property.
Miller shared that in previous meetings with the city, there seemed to be “Unfair or unclear expectations on everyone’s responsibilities,” leading to some issues in communication that could hopefully be resolved going forward.
It was also noted that after some discussion with the city, they agreed to pay for half of the upcoming repairs.
A motion was made to pay up to $6,200 but to speak with the city to confirm their offer to pay half. It was also noted that additional proper training for all staff involved with the field would need to be conducted.
Another urgent fix that needed addressing at the meeting was an ongoing leak in the weight room ceiling.
To be able to remedy the problem immediately, Board Member Wendi Stitzer made a motion to approve the bid from Midwest Builders for emergency replacement of the roof.
Elementary Principal, Danelle Schmid also shared a report with the board.
Schmid shared that Title 1 has scheduled tutors from UW Platteville College to fulfill hours for their diversity class by tutoring English as a second language students in the elementary (This is also scheduled to occur at the middle and high school levels as well.)
It was also shared that the staff received their COVID-19 vaccinations on Friday, March 5. Schmid gave a special thanks to Boscobel Pharmacy and the School Nurse Suzanne for their work to make it possible. The second dose will be administered on March 26.
District Administrator Bryce Bird also shared a report with the board.
Bird shared that administrators across the state are waiting on the state government to finalize education funding for the next year. Bird noted that due to the nature of the two-year rotating budget things can seem uneven in funding plans. However, as Bird shared, “Fortunately at Boscobel, we have a healthy fund balance and a growing capital improvement account (fund 46) which can provide funding for times when needs arise which exceed our budget. It looks like we will be getting approved for a large amount of money ($661,000) through ESSER II Funds. The money can be used over the next two years to address students learning loss and to cover expenses related to COVID. Some of these dollars will help pay for adding additional staff related to catching students up who are behind in their learning. We just have to remember this is one time funding. This money will run out in two years. If we added staff or any other ongoing expenses with this money, we likely will have to cut these expenses when the money runs out.”
In other board news:
•The board approved utilizing the services provided by Andrew Gribble and www.socialschool4edu.com to help promote better social media interaction, content and better branding of Boscobel Schools. The contract would be $9,000 for one year.
•There will be no field trips for the end of the year.
•The trophies throughout the school are being reorganized and a historical cabinet is being added.•There will be a small SWAL banquet in the works.